In a match described as ‘different’ by North Launceston coach Taylor Whitford, North Launceston came away 30-point winners against a valiant Tigers line up. But as TSL Digital Reporter Josh Partridge writes, the Tigers nearly caused a sensational upset with five consecutive goals in the final stanza.
North got off to a trademark blistering start, registering three goals to the Tigers’ one behind in the first quarter.
Although the Tigers suffered this deficit heading into the first change, Tigers coach Trent Baumeler was pleased with his side’s defensive efforts.
“Last time we came up here, at quarter time we were five goals to one down. Obviously, we didn’t trouble the scorers in the goal department in the first quarter today, but we shut them down and tried to make the focus of cutting the ground in half.”
North Launceston debutant Matthew Cossins got his TSL playing career off to a magnificent start, and alongside ex Port Dalrymple schoolmate Thomas Donnelly, were able to help North Launceston cement a 23-point lead heading into the main break.
“It was great to get him (Matthew) in today and I thought he played quite well. He played his role really well and took a couple of strong marks, which isn’t easy to do at his size. With Tom, he is a great person and credit to him, he played really well today,” North Launceston coach Taylor Whitford said after the game.
North burst out of the gate immediately after the first break, thanks to a Brad Cox-Goodyer goal within the first 20 seconds of play, as the Bombers stamped their authority on the match.
Cox-Goodyear was involved once again soon-after, combining with coach Whitford to extend the lead, with the coach then kicking another to extend the lead to seven goals.
The Tigers looked likely to go down in a big loss just prior to the three-quarter-time siren with the Bombers holding complete control over the match.
Enter Heath Thompson.
Thompson kicked his first goal just prior to three-quarter time, courtesy of a 50-metre penalty, landing him in the goal square and sending it over the UTAS Stadium roof.
With his side trailing by 38 points at the last break, Thompson kicking two more in succession to give the Tigers a sniff at victory.
Thompson’s lift was contagious, with Edward Burrows-Cheng delivering a goal of the week contender, Matthew Coad nailing a classy dribble kick goal and Lachlan Watt finding the big sticks. This run-on brought the Tigers to within 10 points as the chances of an unlikely boil over began to grow.
Unfortunately for the away side, North Launceston showed their class and were able to push away from the Tigers as the final term progressed, with big names Tom Bennett, Zach Burt and first time TSL goal scorer, Michael Tang kicking majors to put the result beyond doubt as the reigning premiers notched a 30-point win.
Coach Baumeler was impressed with the Tigers’ effort but lamented missed opportunities within the last quarter, commenting that the final margin didn’t give a true reflection of the match.
“Obviously in that situation (the last quarter), we have to find a way to drag ourselves over the line. We came here to win the game and we gave ourselves an opportunity to do so.”
In another blow for the Tigers, Ben Donnelly dislocated his knee in the side’s loss, an injury he has battled with in the past. This time however, it’s the other knee affected, but Baumeler has faith in Donnelly’s character to get through. North Launceston came out of the clash with no major injury issues, however, and were bolstered through the efforts of Sherrin Egger, who was able to play more on the ball throughout the game as he gathered possessions at will.
North Launceston will now face Glenorchy at KGV, while the Tigers have the round 10 bye.
North Launceston 3.2, 7.2, 10.6, 13.12 (90)
Tigers 0.1, 3.3, 4.4, 9.6 (60)
North Launceston: B. Cox Goodyear 3, T. Bennett 3, T. Whitford 2, Z. Burt 2, M. Walsh 1, C. Harrison 1, M. Tang 1
Tigers: H. Thompson 3, L. Graham 2, L. Watt, M. Carter, E. Burrows-Cheng, M. Coad
North Launceston: S. Egger, T. Whitford, J. Ponting, T. Bennett, A. Richter-Salter, J. Cousens
Tigers: M. Carter, N. Hutchinson, R. Matthews, B. McCulloch, L. Graham, J. Doran